Trust: A Lesson (being) Learned

TrustI spent some time recently going through some old posts here on the old blog. It didn’t take long before I noticed a bit of a recurring theme: Trusting God. Funny, you’d think that for all my discussion on the topic that I would be some sort of master at it by now.

Thank again.

It’s true that I do indeed trust God. Yet time and again I find myself beginning to doubt. It’s nothing deliberate, mind you. As soon as I realize what I am doing and detect the Spirit’s ‘check’ I am (usually) quick to try and do something about it. But in the end I am forced to face the question again and again. Why do I ever doubt him at all?

It’s not like I have a reason to. Looking back over my life I can see his hand in everything that has ever happened to me. His precious, fatherly care is strikingly evident as I recall all the ways he has providentially been at work, even taking into account my own mistakes and failures. It’s easy to look back and detect his presence and I am confident in his promises going forward, yet it is in the present where the issue of trust can become an issue.

In fact, it is the issue.

We are saved by faith. But what is faith? I tend to boil it down to nothing other than trusting obedience. It’s not just trust. Trust alone, which does not produce walking in the light, is no trust at all. And rote obedience manifested out of anything but trust can lead into all sorts of trouble. Instead it is in the harmony of the two together where true biblical faith is found.

I want that kind of faith. It is a faith that saves. It saves me from the mistakes of my past as well as their consequences to come. But it also saves me in the present from anything that would stand between me and the whole life of God available in the here and now.

Bigger Than Hasselhoff

Yes, it is true. I am now a German television star. Recently I posted a video to my YouTube channel showing how the new iPhone suffers from signal loss when held a certain way, and today the German news network, NTV, used my video in their broadcast.

Click the picture to the right to see the video of their broadcast yourself. My video appears at the 2:48 mark.

Also, I have embedded my YouTube video below so that you can see what everybody in Germany is talking about. Be sure to watch it in all its full HD glory.

Dental School

Last week I went through the most physically agonizing experience of my adult life. I had a tooth abscess develop at the root of one of my molars. Now I have discovered that there are two types of people in this world: Those who have had one of these and those who have not. For the latter, let me assure you: It ain’t no walk in the park. In fact, this one infection completely incapacitated me for days, with virtually no relief even after taking the strongest pain narcotics, until I finally had the tooth removed.

But this post is not concerned with teaching you about tooth abscesses. Instead, I want to warn you about a dangerous phenomenon that I experienced throughout the process.

When the pain was at its absolute worst (i.e. when my pain meds wore off), and the agony was at its peak, I was singularly focused on – and border-line obsessed with – fixing what was wrong. There was no room for debate. The pain was my body’s way of stimulating me into action, and action I was going to take.

However, during those few moments when I found even the slightest bit of relief, I began to go soft on my commitment to fixing the problem. The relief made me complacent with a false sense that things weren’t as bad as I thought they were.

Perhaps you could argue that maybe the pain was driving me to irrational solutions while the pain meds offered me a chance to think clearly. But the fact remained that even though I couldn’t sense its presence during those moments of reprieve, a dark and sinister menace lie waiting to unleash new waves of attack against my body that would only get stronger and stronger and threaten my health more and more unless definitively dealt with.

So what’s the molar moral of this story? Well, I’m not really sure. That’s sort of up to you. I merely offer you this little anecdote and ask that you draw your own conclusions. I suppose there are about a million different life applications/lessons you could take from this, and even if just one of them is helpful to at least one of you, then I will feel as though my suffering was not in vain.

P.S. Enjoy that disgusting illustration above.

Funny Lessons From a Funny Girl

I’ll never cease to be amazed by how many lessons I have learned from my (now 8 month old) daughter, Savannah Grace. It’s funny, because here I’m supposed to be the one training her. Yet I find myself nearly every day learning from her some new truth about what it means to be a person pleasing in God’s sight.

Lately my family has been dealing with a bit of cold. Runny noses, stuffy heads, and sore throats have made their rounds in the Scribner home. Poor Savannah. She got so stopped up the other night that she could barely breathe. She couldn’t fall asleep, and then she got so tired that she couldn’t stay awake. It became a vicious and frustrating cycle for her. She was essentially caught between two powerful impulses at war with one another due to the alien presence of overwhelming sinus drainage. And while that in itself could be a vivid object lesson, the point of this post is quite different altogether.

The lesson I learned the other night was what it means to be pure in heart like a child. Yes, I do believe in inherited sin. I do believe in absolute depravity. But I also believe in the simplicity and innocence of a baby. There is quite a difference between an inherited disposition that blossoms into a full-fledged self-centeredness with the development of the human will and the inherent innocence of a baby due to the absence of a history of personal sin. Savannah simply has not acquired depravity like you or I have as adults. She is simple. She is innocent. And this simple innocence is something beautiful.

As Savannah struggled the other night with simultaneously wanting to sleep and not being able to breath, something amazing in her surfaced before my very eyes. This poor little baby, so tired, sick, and frustrated, looked at me and smiled. Through her red, teary eyes she saw her daddy’s face, and it filled her with glee. In the midst of bodily chaos and turmoil, the pure love of a child emerged.

Jesus teaches us to have the faith of a child. But is it a stretch to suggest that this includes the type of simple, innocent attitude of love evidenced the other night by Savannah? In the midst of our world-weary lives, as we struggle from day to day with all the agitations and annoyances of life, could Jesus be asking us to resist the temptation to grumble and wallow in self-pity and focus on the Father instead? Can we peer up at His face through our tired, blurry eyes and somehow manage a smile? That smile will speak volumes of the character and inner content of your heart. That smile might just mean more than all our eloquent words and fancy speech.

This is my challenge to you and to myself this day: love God simply, innocently, and purely. Keep your eyes fixed upon His face. David prayed for one thing: “to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). Take a cue from the funny face of my funny little girl, who loves her daddy with all that she is capable of and never wallows in self-pity.

Where in the world is Sean San Diego?

By now you must be wondering where in the world I am and if I plan on ever blogging again. The answers to those questions are simple, but let me first tell you where I’ve been and why I haven’t blogged lately.

In May I graduated from Wesley Biblical Seminary here in Jackson. The next day my wife and I had our baby daughter, Savannah Grace (now 5 months old), baptized. The months leading up to that weekend, and the time since, have been the busiest and most taxing of my life. Sadly for you, finishing seminary, writing a thesis, and having a family have been more important to me than enlightening your mind and shaping your worldview. Oh, and did I mention that my beloved cat died, my whole family dealt with a round of flu, and our apartment was destroyed by a tornado? All in the month of April? Yes, it is true. This past Spring was quite an ordeal.

But here we are, the hard part is behind us now. To answer the original questions, I will say this. I am still here, in Jackson, at WBS. I now work full-time as the new Resource Developer for the seminary and will assist the academic department, support online education, and help develop resources for both education and institutional advancement. In addition, I am Dr. Ury’s teaching assistant in the theology department. And secondly, yes, I do plan on blogging again. Somehow, some way, I will do it. I can be done. And it will. I just need a little more time.

So do not be alarmed. I have been away, but I will soon be back. Just think of all the wonderful possibilities of what a recent seminary grad just might have to say to you… Ok, seriously though. I’ll be back.

Generational Holiness

This was sent to me this morning by my sister-in-law, Shellie. I thought it was rather witty and dead on the mark (click the image if you’re having trouble reading it):

The fallout of the bad parenting decisions of the now aging Baby Boomer generation has yet to be fully felt. But the initial consensus is that the next generation of young men and women, IE. my own, may be the most narcissistic ever. After being raised to believe that everyone wins and no one is wrong, many who are close to my age think they are the epicenter of the universe. Parents who try to be their children’s ‘friends’ instead of their parents — you know, the ones who opt for “time out” instead of a good old fashion spanking — are creating a whole generation of vain selfish little monsters who are soon to be in control of the world. It’s already bad enough that my generation is inheriting our parents’ touchy-feely overly-emotionally-oriented self-help therapeutic me-and-Jesus religion. Now it just seems like the whole country is going to be overrun with young men and women who’s worldview is only me-and-me. Exaggerated? No. Scary? Yes.

I know what you’re thinking… “Sean, don’t you fit into this category?” The answer is no. Thank God that my parents spanked me when I was bad, told me to be quiet when I was talking in church, encouraged me to win (but to do so with integrity and in good sportsmanship), showed interest in my education, punished me when I had a check mark in the “talks too much” box on my elementary report cards, made me do chores around the house (including shoveling snow that didn’t belong to me), be responsible with my money, carry my dinner plate into the kitchen after I was through, clean up my bedroom, and more. And thank God that there are other parents out there like them. Granted, they still managed to pass along some of that touchy-feely overly-emotionally-oriented self-help therapeutic me-and-Jesus religion that I mentioned earlier, but at the very least they taught me to believe in and love God. The truth is that I owe much of my manhood/adulthood/personhood to my parents. The question now is what kind of parent will I be to my own children?

The answer: I want them to be more holy than I am. Just as my goal is to replicate all that is good in my parents while avoiding the things they did wrong, I hope in turn to raise my children in such a way that I am not half the person that they will be. Is there a more beautiful offering to God than godly children who love the Trinity and hate sin? Perhaps that is the moral to this post, and maybe even the moral to all of life. Perpetuating godliness is the antithesis of the spirit of our age, the spirit of rabid narcissistic individualism, which is the spirit of antichrist.

I conclude my little rant by pointing you to a good sermon on this topic by WBS alum and board member, Mr. Charlie Artmann. He beautifully articulates all that I am trying to say here, so I recommend you take the time to listen to it.